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Welome to New Zamir Singers
Zamir is now 58-singers strong, the largest membership in recent years. A warm welcome to altos
Becca Rausch and Rachel Seliber, and tenor Gabriel Goldman.


In addition, Elijah Botkin joins the Chorale as a member of the bass section and this year's conducting intern. He is currently a fourth-year math and music double major at Northeastern University, where he sings in the chorus and chamber chorus under Josh Jacobson's direction.
Elijah Botkin
A Dean's List student, Elijah has an extensive background as a conductor and choral singer, including chamber, madrigal, and a cappella groups. At Acton-Boxborough High School, he founded and led the co-ed group Cascade and the all-male a cappella group the Testostertones. He just started a madrigal group at NU, which he will be directing. In addition, he is a freelance music arranger and engraver. 


"I'm very much looking forward to my internship," says Elijah. "I've been interested in choral directing and conducting for a while now, and I'm very excited to have this opportunity to study with Josh, and for getting my first experience with a professional auditioned choir (outside of school)."  

Kenneth Davis Joins Zamir Board
Ken Davis with his wife, Alison
Welcome to Ken Davis, the newest member of Zamir's Board of Directors. Ken sang with Zamir from 1976 to 1982 and served as choral business manager for two years, including for the group's 1979 trip to Israel. 
Ken is a financial advisor with the Bulfinch Group in Needham, specializing in income protection, wealth accumulation, retirement income. He lives in Needham with his wife, Alison. Their son Ethan is in his second year at Boston College Law School; their son Adam just graduated from Brown University and has a fellowship with Buzzfeed in New York City. 
Ken writes, "I have been involved with Zamir over the years through my parents' family foundation and am honored to join the Zamir Board formally." 
Zamir CDs
In each issue of Zamir E-Notes, we will feature "Fans' Favorites"--favorite CDs of our fans. 
Our Fall E-Notes favorite is 
TTD CD cover

In June, the Zamir Chorale of Boston issued a "live" recording of our concert, Touch the Dream -- a musical tribute to Israel on its 65th anniversary of independence, and an invocation of the idealism of its founders.


On this CD you will hear recordings from our spring concert of the same name. Songs include Yehezkel Braun's "Magash Ha-Kesef," Kenneth Lampl's stirring "Jerusalem," Ahinoam Nini's "Aval Ahava," and Yair Rosenblum's haunting "Untaneh Tokef." 




FALL 2013  

Dear Friends of Zamir,


Shanah Tovah to you and your families! We hope that you have been enjoying a peaceful and meaningful holiday season. The Zamir Chorale of Boston is gearing up for our 45th season of joyous music making. Check out the schedule of upcoming concerts, including two October performances in the Boston area. And enjoy an inside look at Josh Jacobson's experiences this summer as a workshop conductor at the Zimriya World Assembly in Akko, Israel. May this year bring you much happiness, health, and inspiring music.

In each issue of E-Notes, Artistic Director Joshua Jacobson offers his unique insights and experiences as a world-renowned scholar, composer, conductor, and influential teacher of Jewish music. 


This summer, I spent a week teaching and conducting at the Zimriya World Assembly of Choirs in Israel. It was an inspirational experience, with dozens of conductors and hundreds of singers from Israel, Europe, Asia, North and South America and Africa.


I arrived in Akko with my family on Friday afternoon, August 9.
Josh Jacobson
Josh Jacobson

The old city was closed to traffic and the streets were thronged with pedestrians: Arabs, Jews, tourists from abroad. All were celebrating the final days of Eid al-Fitr, a joyous Muslim festival marking the end of Ramadan. Muslims were dressed in their finest clothes. Some women were covered from head to toe, and some were in less modest garb, but everyone seemed to be tolerant of the others. There were amusement parks, toy stores, and food and drink stands everywhere. We enjoyed the best hummus we had ever tasted. Loudspeakers blared Arabic pop music, except at prayer time, when we heard the (recorded) voice of the muezzin from the minaret calling the faithful to prayer with he most beautiful chant.


Akko - Old City

On Saturday night, I met with the organizers of the Zimriya and my fellow workshop conductors: Timothy Brown from the UK, Gabor Hollerung from Hungary, Werner Pfaff from Germany, Nestor Zadoff from Argentina, and Sanna Valvanne from Finland. The meetings, rehearsals, and most concerts would take place in a recently restored Crusader fortress, some 800 years old. There were three choirs assigned to my workshop, nearly 100 singers: the Mthatha Anglican Diocesan Choir from South Africa; the Eva Jewish Youth Choir from St. Petersburg, Russia; and the Eden Shir Ganenu choir from Paris.


I was asked to rehearse and then

Josh and  S. African Singers in Acco
Josh with South African choir conductor (left) and 
chorus member

lead these singers in a performance of a program of "Jewish music." Given that most of my singers had no knowledge of Hebrew and couldn't read music, I confined my workshop to three pieces: the "Kedushah" from Darius Milhaud's Service Sacré, the "Sanctus/Kedushah" from Leonard Bernstein's MASS, and my arrangement of Shlomo Carlebach's "Mizmor LeDavid" (Psalm 29). We worked hard, with six hours of rehearsal each day.


Every evening, all the participants were treated to a concert by local

Performance in Old Acco
Rehearsing in the old fortress

and visiting ensembles. For me, the most exciting performance was given by two amazing choirs: Al Ba'ath-the Arab Voices of Galilee, conducted by Rahib Haddad and the Manado State University Choir from Indonesia, conducted by Prof. André de Quadros. The music was exotic, carefully and tastefully choreographed, and always exquisitely performed. And what a treat to see and hear Christian Arabs and Asian Muslims performing for an appreciative Jewish audience in Israel!


On the last night of the festival,each workshop performed the music it had been preparing during the week. Our Jewish Music workshop went off quite well, accompanied by pianist Sharon Schatz and the Chamber Academy Orchestra from Basel, Switzerland. Although it had been a struggle for many of my singers to memorize the music (with so many Hebrew words) and internalize the subtleties of its interpretation,

JJ conducting in Acco
Josh conducts in Akko

everyone came away with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Zukisa Tyumre, the director of the Mthatha Anglican Diocesan Choir from South Africa, wrote to me, "This serves to express my sincere words of gratitude for the good work you did in the 23rd Zimriya 2013. If I were to describe you in three adjectives, I'd say, 'Tolerant, Patient and definitely very kind.' A lot of things happened in our workshop, that could have led you to hit the roof, but you were so calm and collected. You were even patient with us, despite not having done the music, let alone having no idea of the staff notation. All this taught me what a real leader should be like; indeed music runs through your blood veins. Keep up the good work so God can continuously and tirelessly be praised by all nations." And I say, "Amen!"


Photos by Boaz Brill and Remy Nizard

More photos on www.zamir.org


Honoring Josh Jacobson's 40th Anniversary at Northeastern 


On Sunday, November 17, a gala Reunion and Concert will be held at Jordan Hall to celebrate Josh Jacobson's forty years as Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Northeastern University and conductor of the Northeastern University Choral Society. For tickets and full information, go to www.music.neu.edu/nucs/registration-tickets/. Mazal tov, Josh! Joining the choir and orchestra will be Edwin Swanborn, NU's and Zamir's longtime and much beloved pianist.


Zamir Featured on WGBH Radio's "Sweet Sounds for the New Year"


Selections from Zamir's recording archive were featured on Classical Music 99.5 FM's show "Sweet Songs for the New Year" last month, including two settings of "Halleluyah," by Joseph Dreschler and Louis Lewandowski; as well as "El Nora Alilah," arranged by Josh Jacobson. Listen to the recording.


Sunday, October 20, 3:00 pm: Saint John's Seminary, 127 Lake Street, Brighton. 

Zamir's chamber chorus will perform sacred music throughout the ages, ancient and modern. For further information, email: sandy.barry@sjs.edu


Sunday, October 27, 7:00 pm: Temple Shalom, 175 Temple Street, West Newton. 

We were snowed out last February, so let's try again! Join us for "Open Your Eyes," an evening of selections from Zamir's far-ranging repertoire, including classical, folk, popular, jazz, and liturgical choral music from eight countries, composed over four centuries. Temple Shalom's featured soloist Cantor Peter Halpern and the Shir Shalom choir will participate. Sponsored by the Temple Shalom Music Committee. For information: concert@templeshalom.org.


Sunday, November 24, 3:00pm: Temple Beth Sholom, 50 Pamela Road, Framingham.

Join us for a fabulous afternoon of music making with last season's spring honoree, Rav-Hazzan Scott Sokol. For information: concert@beth-sholom.org.


Sunday, December 1, 4:00 pm: Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street, Boston.

Zamir will join Rabbi Howard Berman of the Central Reform Temple for "A Light Through the Ages," an annual Hanukkah celebration. For information: www.alightthroughtheages.org.


Tuesday, December 17, 7:30 pm: Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward Street, Newton.

Mark your calendars now for "Hanukkah Happens XXIV." This year's theme will be Jewish love songs. Stay tuned for more details.


Sunday, March 2, 2014, 4:00 pm: Congregation Mishkan Tefila, 300 Hammond Pond Parkway, Chestnut Hill.

Concert honoring Cantor Aryeh Finklestein, featuring the oratorio "Like Wildflowers Suddenly," composed by Cantor Charles Osborne, lyrics by Cantor Finklestein.


Monday evening, May 19, Time TBD: Sanders Theatre, Cambridge.

Zamir's annual Spring Concert: "Elijah Rocks," Bible stories told through music from a variety of traditions, honoring Charles Coe of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Zamir alumna Heather Zacker.


Jewish Genealogical Societies Host Zamir at the Hynes Center


On August 8, Zamir headlined at the closing banquet as part of the 33rd annual conference co-hosted by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston, held at the Hynes Convention Center. Led by guest conductor Amy Lieberman, Zamir performed before an enthusiastic audience as the final performance for the week-long conference, which also featured performances by Safam and members of the Klezmer Conservatory Band.


Catskills Concert at NAJCF


Zamir performed on the opening night of the North American Jewish Choral Festival on July 21 at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa in Kerhonkson, NY. It's always a delight to join Mati Lazar of the Zamir Choral Foundation in celebration of the best of Jewish choral music, along with hundreds of participants from around the country. One of the highlights was Ahaaron Bensoussan's "Lecha Dodi," with Gilbert Schiffer singing the solo and the entire audience singing along on the refrain.


As always, let us know what you're up to--we love hearing from our friends near and far. Have a wonderful, productive fall!


Barbara Gaffin 

Managing Director


Deborah Sosin

Editor, E-Notes